Black, Dark Skin, African American...?!?

What should I call darker skinned people? Apparently, calling someone Black(s) is racist but so is African American because not all dark skinned people are African. Should I just say, "dark skinned people," or are some people overreacting?

3 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    This is a lie. Most black people prefer to be called black, we aren't African.

  • 1 month ago


    people of color

  • 1 month ago

    Of course SOME individuals overreact to just about anything.  You can't let yourself get carried away trying to PLEASE EVERYONE.  Just try to be respectful and obey the Golden Rule, and it'll all work out.  I refer to white-skinned people as "white people" or "white folks" or "Europeans" or European-Americans" or "white Americans", as the case may be.  Sometimes I'll go so far as to say "persons of European descent".

    Folks who are clearly descended from African ancestors I call "black people", "black folks", "Africans", "African-Americans", "West Indians", "Jamaicans", and so on, as the case may be - keeping in mind there are LOTS of black people spread ALL across the Caribbean and the Americas and there are some rivalries and sensitivities out there - so I try not to get too specific unless I really am familiar with the locality.

    As you can see, it's all just common sense.  But you're right - some individuals have a fetish about feigning outrage if you pick a word they don't like for some peculiar reason.  That's okay, though.  I just apologize and ask them what they'd prefer, if I'm actually in a conversation with them (and they aren't just poking their opinions in where they don't belong).  And then I do it their way.  After all, if I'm trying to communicate, I need to come up with terms that my listeners can understand.  I can't dictate that to them.

    It's not a big deal.  In the specific case you cited, there are lots of folks who feel that just referring to people by some characteristic (like "the big-noses") is disrespectful and objectifying.  Personally, I have to agree.  But you can avoid that by simply adding the word "people" or "persons".  ("Big-nosed people" is better, but could be improved even further by flipping it: "people who have big noses".)  So I try to avoid just saying "whites" or "blacks" - just as we all avoid using "yellows" or "reds" (except when baiting socialists).

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